Unleashing the (Geo)political: Post-Brexit positionalities of EU citizens in the UK

Authors: Zana Vathi*, Edge Hill University, Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Edge Hill University
Topics: Political Geography, Social Geography, Europe
Keywords: Brexit, Geo-political positionality
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The paper develops a typology of (geo)political positionalities that EU citizens living in the UK experience in the post-Brexit era. The paper is based on recent ongoing research in Liverpool and Southport, which comprises 50 interviews and 2 focus groups with migrants of different socio-economic backgrounds from various EU member states, and 10 interviews with key informants. Interviews with EU migrants uncovered their post-Brexit (geo)political competency and resilience that link and, at the same time, contrast their status with UK’s imperial past, its current (geo)political position in the EU, and its prospective status post-Brexit. Three typological groups of positionalities emerge based on (1) the national and regional political systems and cultures they have been socialised and have previous experiences with; (2) the geo-political standing of their countries of origin in Europe and in the EU (3) and these countries’ previous experiences with multi-national structures and experiences of membership/exit. At a more pragmatic level, these positionalities are affected by participants’ differentiated access to EU citizenship rights and emotional positionalities based on intimate and symbolic ties with the EU. The findings are discussed in relation to the migration and EU politics literatures.

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